Sunday, August 29, 2010

 

Kemp runs out of water!
Water line breaks prompt emergency conservation measures
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Thursday morning, Kemp mayor Matt Ganssle learned his city was out of water – another major water line break drained what little water was left in the tank after a series of breaks this week.
GBCwaterForKemp.jpg (244251 bytes)
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Walmart employee Cody Daniels loads a plastic-wrapped pallet of water bottles into a Gun Barrel City code enforcement truck Thursday. Gun Barrel City donated $500 in bottled water to the city of Kemp, which had a major water supply crisis. Another 20 cases of water were loaded up for the Kemp Volunteer Fire Department. The GBC, Mabank and Kaufman fire departments were on standby Thursday to back up the Kemp VFD in case of a major fire, GBC fire chief Joey Lindaman said.

Messages on radio and television, as well as in The Monitor Thursday, alerted some 860 Kemp water customers that extreme conservation measures needed to be taken.
After learning Kemp freshwater supplies had dipped dangerously low, Ganssle called an emergency city council meeting Tuesday.
Due to a series of major water lines breaks – one Sunday night before the first day of school – the water plant has been unable to restore reserves.
“We’re not saying that people should fill every container in the house with water,” plant manager Chris Burns said Tuesday. “We just need folks to decrease their use of water.”
He suggested such measures as stop watering the grass and washing cars, hand wash dishes, not letting the water run out of the faucets, don’t wash clothes, flush less.
Both elevated water tanks held less than 18 inches of water, Burns told council members Tuesday.
“If we have another major leak, we won’t have any water left,” Burns said.
Thursday, water pressure was down to a trickle and a boil water notice was issued.
Kemp schools superintendent Dr. Peter Running took matters into his own hands, and procured drinking water from neighboring stores and arranged for water for sanitation purposes.
Brookshire’s donated cases of bottled water to the school Thursday morning.
“The kids are better off in school than at home with no water,” he said.
The City of Gun Barrel purchased $500 worth of bottled water from Walmart and delivered it to the Kemp fire station. Residents who need fresh water can go to the fire station and get some.
Sonic is also providing bottled water for those in need.
Fire chief Brian Beavers said the station will be manned around the clock.
No official word has been given on how long the crisis may last – some at city hall speculate 72 hours.
West and East Cedar Creek utility districts told The Monitor Thursday they had not been called upon for assistance.
Ganssle commended Burns and his crew Tuesday for their diligent attention and hard work to address the breaks.
“Unless people slow up on their use of water, it will be near impossible to refill the water towers,” he said. Each tower holds 100,000 gallons, he said. Kemp water customers typically use 460,000 gallons of water a day.
The plant’s two clear wells require a certain quantity of water for backwashing, Burns explained.
Every time the plant gets a little ahead, a backwashing and drawing on reserves returns the level back to low, he said.
Burns estimated it would take 25 hours with no water usage to refill the plant’s two clear water wells and another five to 10 hours to refill the elevated storage tanks.
“We’ve already talked with the school, and they’ve stopped watering the athletic fields at night,” Burns said. But that’s not enough.
“Everyone needs to back down their water usage until we can get this thing under control,” he said.
Councilman Leodis Buckley asked about how the city would handle a fire.
“At this point, we are not able to provide fire protection,” Burns said.
“How long do you think it will take to refill the water tanks?” Ganssle asked.
“Four days to a week,” Burns said.
Councilman Todd Weber said he understood how the dry weather and shifting of the soil could cause so many breaks in the line.

 

Brookshire water plant renovation enters final phase
East Cedar Creek readies to supply 700 new water customers
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District directors dubbed KSA Engineers to begin the final stage of a the Brookshire water plant renovation Aug. 18.
The firm will oversee refurbishing media in filters one and two, at an estimated cost of $40,000. Once this is completed in the next three months, the plant will have a total of four filters up and running, general manager Bill Goheen said.
“This opens the doors to the final phase of refurbishing the plant,” he added.
The final phase includes overhauling the last clarifer, which is now offline. Once completed the end of 2011, the plant will have the capacity to process four million gallons of water a day (mg/d). Currently, the plant is permitted to operate 3 mg/d, Goheen said.
In the first six months of 2012, the utility plans to install a new water pump, which will double the rate of water from 700 gallons per minute (g/m) to 1,400 g/m.
With the pace of winning a favorable ruling on the District’s sales contract to purchase some700 water meter customers from Mabank, the district will have ample supply for the new customers and be able to complete the transfer efficiently, he said.
“We are still waiting for TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) to review it, and then Tarrant Regional (water district) wants to look at their review,” Goheen added. “It is going forward. It is not going to stop.”
In other business, directors:
• heard the finance committee will be adjusting the pay schedule on the Trinidad raw water contract. “Neither side will get what they hoped for, but after the initial few years, it will balance out. The contract is still a good deal for the district,” Goheen said.
The adjustment is needed to comply with the contract the district already has for the purchase of raw water from Tarrant Regional. Purchasing less than the running five-year average will incur a penalty, he explained.
• agreed to leave the operations manager post unfilled, as long as Goheen was general manager.
Goheen explained he could continue to oversee the good teams working for the district.
• heard no serious offers have been received on the house for sale and to be moved from District property.
• approved tank white as the color for the Brookshire Tower painting project.
Contractors will begin work almost immediately and plan to roll on paint to prevent overspray on vehicles passing below, Goheen said.
The tower is located in the 400 block of Legendary Lane, he added.
• approved the revised district investment policy, with only one minor change.
• agreed to refrain from transferring funds into the operation reserve account for one month.
• approved the purchase of a computer for the general manager at a cost of $1,700.
• approved a new tank for the vacuum rig at the budgeted cost of $14,000.
• approved changing the regular board meeting date to Sept. 22.
• heard the committee reports as presented.
“The district is taking in more revenue. It is selling more water (result of summer heat conditions),” finance committee chair Carol Meyer said.

 

Neighbors complain about foul smell from animal shelter
Freezer breakdown, record temperatures and staff shortage frustrates solution
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS/TOOL–Residents and a business close to the Cedar Creek Lake Humane Society complained of a sickening, foul smell emanating from the animal shelter this week.
The facility experienced a breakdown of its commercial walk-in freezer, where the bodies of euthanized animals are kept until they are disposed of.
Shelter board president Tamara Rhodes told The Monitor that facility staff reported the outage Aug. 19.
The following afternoon, a mechanic deduced that a coolant leak had occurred. He recharged the system with Freon, hoping that the contents would refreeze until he could return with a more permanent fix early the next week.
With the high temperatures, the plan was to clean out the contents Saturday, however, a family emergency left the shelter staff shorthanded, she said, so the contents remained.
The recharge only cooled the appliance. It wasn’t able to accomplish a refreeze, she said.
Meanwhile, temperatures registered triple digits through the weekend.
When staff opened the freezer on Monday, the scene and smell was “worse than your worst nightmares,” she said.
“It was so bad that Westside Hardware (located 300 yards away on State Highway 274) called to ask if we were having some trouble,” she said.
They suggested picking up some lime, which they did, she added.
Monday, temperatures at D/FW airport set a record high of 107 degrees and staff painstakingly shifted the decomposing contents onto a truck for transport to the dump in Corsicana.
“We had to buy respirators for the staff,” she said.
The unit was washed down with chlorine, and a few days later, a second lime treatment followed.
Staff was able to place 30 animals with an animal rescue organizations and no euthanasia was conducted. The shelter was also closed to the public, only accepting animals from animal control officers, she said.
One such animal was a Husky breed, which came in with severe heatstroke.
“Everything conspired against us this week – the weather, the staff shortage, the growing need,” Rhodes lamented.
The mechanic who sold the used walk-in to the shelter guessed a small coolant leak occurred following the installation of a new compressor two weeks ago, and had gone undetected.
He is confident he will have it repaired before the week is out, she said.
Preventing a similar breakdown in the future is like the lyrics to the song “There’s A Hole In The Bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza.”
The best solution is to build a new facility, she said – the very thing the board is trying to accomplish with its “Raising the Woof” campaign.
A Saturday poker tournament at the Kiings Creek Country Club is one of the many events being mounted to raise funds.
“Of course, donations are always welcome at the website, hsccl.org,” she said.



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